Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Jew, Zoo

This weekend brought about two great days. Saturday, Dan made 2 loaves of delicious, delicious challah for our friend Julie's annual latke party. We went to the party and had a marvelous time.


60 pounds of grated potatoes.

This party was a bit smaller than last year's (thankfully; last year you could hardly move inside) and we enjoyed catching up with people, meeting new people, and generally socializing. Julie made her chicken soup again to go with the latkes and challah, and people played guitar hero (or was it rock band? kids these days and their video games), and the coolest part of the evening for me was the havdalah. The rabbi was unable to attend this year, so it was just the host of the party (Julie's friend Len) who presided, with the assistance of a rabbi's daughter in attendance who read some of the prayers off her iphone. At least half the room recited along with her.

bubbes at work

Important rule: NO KETCHUP ALLOWED.

At some point, we got recruited to become bubbes-in-training (or, I guess, Dan would be a zaidy in training). Anyhow, Dan and I took our turn standing at the hot, greasy stove in the huge mess and fried latkes for a while. This process is far less easy than one might think (you think: potato, flour, egg, plop in hot oil, turn when browned, right?). Latke, uh, batter? dough? makings? is difficult to work with and it takes some real skill to get the stuff to stick together when you plop it in the oil. You have to squeeze a lot of water out, and wait a long time before flipping the latke, and lots of little bits come off and brown much faster than everything else. It makes the whole house smell of oil and creates a heavy, hot atmosphere. But Dan got so good at it, he was deemed Zaidy Daniel-san and given his own bandana to wear.

Bubbe Julie with Daniel-san

Sunday we decided we needed some good, old fashioned exercise. I only had two latkes and no booze at the party and I still felt ill from all the grease in the air and from standing in the hot kitchen that long, so we decided to walk to the zoo.


This year, I made sure my camera was functional and was excited to get some interesting photos. Dan played around with our fancy camera and got some Really Nice photos. Even though it was nice outside, it's still winter, so the zoo, though not as empty as when it's snowing, was still sparsely populated. Most of the animals were out and about, at least the ones that like cold weather, and the lack of screaming children made them more active. The wolves and bears seemed to be particularly enjoying themselves; the dall sheep and bighorn sheep were playful; and there were tons of gorgeous peacocks showing off for the peahens. The lions were in the larger enclosure and the adult male displayed his vocal prowess throughout the couple of hours we were wandering around, audible from everywhere in the zoo.

The scariest part was the duck pond. Or whatever the place was. Most of these birds just kind of show up and hang out here, I think. It was kind of like a nightmare you might have after watching a hitchcock movie.

My favorite amusement of the afternoon was watching an adult kangaroo chase an emu who was chasing a baby kangaroo. Or the cheetahs who have worn a path next door, trying to find a way in to eat the kangaroos. Or maybe the orangutan who was lounging under a large piece of burlap looking sort of babushka-like.

All in all, we probably walked 7 or 8 miles on Sunday. It was just what I needed to cap off a week of relative sloth and gluttony.


Sara said...

I am impressed with those loaves! I think I'm going to attempt some challah with my new book!

Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

Grated potatoes? YUM. And the lack of ketchup? Even better. Ketchup = Gross.


Cilicious said...

Latkes are so good, though I'm not crazy about how my house smells afterward. We always have them with applesauce and sour cream.